An Amateur Birdwatcher's tally
Every time I look at a crow I remember an interesting experience. It was early one Saturday morning. Maggie and I had gone out for a walk, too early for Katie, the late sleeper. Maggie and I trotted down a block and turned the corner. I slowed immediately. We had been watching for a neighbor dog, whom the girls like. But he wasn’t out. Now my eyes were trying to sort out what I was seeing up ahead.
Something black was scooting along the sidewalk. It was too big to be a mouse. Too black to be a rabbit. Too small for a dog or even a cat. Maggie noticed it with excitement. Unfortunately, her interest was predatory. It was moving! We stepped ahead, with Maggie’s leash tight in my hand. Now I could tell the creature was a crow. He was injured. I stopped.
There were a few cats on this block, and some of them were outside, in the distance. I swallowed. It was a crow – some would say just a crow. But it wanted to live! It was looking for safety. Maggie turned reluctantly with me and we raced home.
I had no idea how to find help. Animal control was closed for the weekend. A veterinarian’s office suggested an animal sanctuary. There was one in the phone book. I had never heard of it before. But I called the Puget Sound Wildcare with cautious hope.
“We can’t come get him. But if you bring him to us we will do what we can,” I was told. “Get a towel and toss it lightly over him to pick him up.” This made me nervous. He may already be dead, I thought. But my conscience wouldn’t let it go. I got a towel and walked reluctantly back to the spot.
A cat was on a fence by the sidewalk where Mr. Crow huddled. The bird was alive but not able to fly. I tossed the cover over him and picked him up. “Scat.” I told the cat. The cat would have frowned if he could have. He hopped disappointedly into his yard. I carried the bird to my car, where I had my sister waiting to drive us. We had a cat carrier, which I placed him in, towel and all. He was still alive. We drove quickly to the sanctuary which was only about 15 miles away. We had to carry him to the back door, down an incline. He didn’t protest once.
I paid a contribution for his care - $25 was more than they requested. The receptionist wasn’t a veterinarian but she though he’d hurt his ankle. There was no guarantee he would survive. If they couldn’t repair the leg he would be put down. I could accept that. What crow would want to live if he couldn’t fly? This death would be kinder than in the paws of a cat. I left him in good care.
Now I look for him in every group of crows. Don’t know if I’d know him or not. I never checked back. My heart couldn’t take bad news. But there are a lot of crows out there. Here’s a cute one dancing on a bush outside a fast food restaurant. She got a French fry for her photogenic behavior. This paparazzi tries to be a good lady with her targets.
I love birdwatching. It's relaxing and fun. Even though I've been birding for over 10 years I classify myself as an amateur birder. I plan to write a blog each month about my experiences. Hope you enjoy them!